A ‘Downton Abbey’ movie is actually happening & no one knows how to feel

UK Team launch for Invictus Games Toronto 2017

I watched all of Downton Abbey as it was airing. I loved it. I didn’t think the show deserved all of the Emmys it received, but I really did enjoy it. It was a classic Edwardian soap opera, full of plot twists and plot holes, stupid drama and compelling drama, leg-tingles, bad doctoring, sketchy dudes posing as long-dead cousins, great costumes and bitchfaces galore. Honestly, I do sort of miss the show and I wouldn’t hate it if they decided to make one more season. But we’re not getting a new season: we’re getting a Downton Abbey MOVIE! I do not know how to feel about this.

The wheels are moving on the Downton Abbey movie as NBCUniversal International Studios confirmed on Wednesday that production for a big screen adaptation of the hit series is set to begin next year. NBCU Int’l Studios President Michael Edelstein told the Associated Press that the company hopes to assemble 20 cast members from the Carnival Films/Masterpiece series, which ran on ITV in the UK and PBS in the U.S., for a production start date in 2018.

“We are working on getting the script right and then we’ve got to figure out how to get the [cast] together,” said Edelstein. “Because, as you know, people go on and do other things. But we’re hopeful to make a movie sometime next year.”

Speaking at an event for Downton Abbey: The Exhibition in Singapore, Edelstein acknowledged that a film version of the Emmy Award-winning show had been in the works for “some time.” Producer Gareth Neame and creator-writer Julian Fellowes told Deadline last year that a feature film was on the cards but assembling the cast was “not a straightforward leap.”

“Julian and I are enthusiastic to do it,” said Neame at the time. “And so are the cast, I believe, so hopefully it will happen.”

Fellowes has already been working on a script for the feature film version but the cast members reportedly did not know yet about the movie but reacted in favor.

[From Deadline]

It’s believed that many in the six-season remaining cast would return, like Laura Carmichael (Poor Edith), Michelle Dockery (ice-queen black widow Lady Mary), Joanne Froggatt, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, etc. I have no idea if the bitchy, shade-throwing heart of the show, Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess, would return though. Maggie Smith seemed pretty over it, especially in the last years of Downton.

As for the plot… they ended the show at the tailend of the 1920s. The 1930s would be the lead-up to World War II, the abdication of King Edward VIII, the coronation of King George VI and more. It could be interesting, especially since Lady Mary’s son George would presumably be old enough to fight in WWII. Hmm…

UK Team launch for Invictus Games Toronto 2017

UK Team launch for Invictus Games Toronto 2017

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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39 Responses to “A ‘Downton Abbey’ movie is actually happening & no one knows how to feel”

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  1. Jeesie says:


    If I thought Fellowes might take the opportunity to retcon it into something more Gosford Park-ish (instead of a maudlin, glacially paced soap) then I’d be excited, but as it is I’m really not interested in another outing of ‘Mary is totally interesting guys, really’.

    • Craven says:

      Well since Robert Altman is the reason that Gosford Park didnt turn out as just another really bad Agatha Christie imitation, I wouldnt hold my breath. It will just be more soap in period costume which might work on TV but theres a reason why theres no Melrose Place movie.

    • Ally says:

      On the whole, I enjoy the show (though like Mad Men, the first season was the tightest, before they realized they’d have to stretch it out for years).

      Your comment is spot on about the flaws. Though I appreciate that it wasn’t as miserable and hectoring as BBC period dramas are of late. Gosford Park did strike the perfect balance, though I think Bob Balaban and Robert Altman brought a lot of that movie’s mix of wit, entertainment and welcome acidity. Fellowes is perhaps overly sentimental about titled people with big houses.

  2. nemera34 says:

    I just finished binge watching it on amazon. I love these kinds of shows. I actually would have preferred a TV version instead of an actual movie. As you pointed out 1930’s would lend to some interesting this. But again it would have been more fleshed out in a season; even one with about 3 or 4 episodes. Not sure if I will go to a theater to see it though

  3. RBC says:

    I want to find out if the Dowager(Maggie Smith) will finally find out what a “weekend” is all about. She was the Queen of throwing shade

    • Jane says:

      I agree. They struck gold when they got her for that role. I LOVED her snark; especially when she acted with Shirley MacLaine.

  4. Singtress says:

    Please. In the name of all that is overmarketed and British, no more Anna and Bates. Please.

  5. Char says:

    They absolutely need the Dowager Duchess the amazing remarks, especially about Wallis Simpson. But by that time would she still be alive?

    • RBC says:

      If the Grim Reaper came for the Dowager, she would give him stinkeye and say:
      ” I am not going anywhere until I have my tea, and do you own any robes that are not black? You wore that same outfit last season”

  6. Margo S. says:

    I’d see the movie. Wish they’d just make another season though.

  7. RuddyZooKeeper says:

    I feel burnt out. Sort of like with Sherlock – amazing the first couple of seasons and then it stretches my capacity to suspend disbelief. And the writing suffers. And the actors start phoning it in because character development stalls and success is quite comfy. Nobody can grasp the notion of “quit while you’re ahead” anymore, and every film franchise and infinite tv series starts to feel like a gross money grab.

    • Luca76 says:

      Yes British series are so much better when they just take a break between series and keep up the level of drama. The first season was perfect the second decent the rest pure drivel. After Sybil and Matthew died I stopped liking everyone. Especially Anna and Bates. The only characters I cared about were Daisy and the badass Countess. Everyone else was such a drag.

  8. Sixer says:

    Please God, no. I thought I’d escaped. And now a film, which Mr Sixer will make me watch.

    I have a husband with a dodgy addiction to period drama, no matter how crap. I might put him on eBay.

    • lightpurple says:

      I will watch it with Mr. Sixer. I miss them.

      • Imqrious2 says:

        I am *such* a sucker for English drama pieces. My family told me I must’ve been switched at birth in the hospital with a visiting English family. SIxer, I’ll volunteer with LP to get Mr. Sixer through the movie and all subsequent online chats and forums about it. I’ll even bring some wine for us all, and perhaps get you enticed to peek in over our shoulders and watch some, too?? 😉

      • Sixer says:

        LOL! You guys can take him off my hands!

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      My husband is the same way. It’s actually fun to witness him reading the Jane Austen he was never assigned as an English major, because he gets so much out of it. I have the feeling that for him, Downton Abbey was a guilty pleasure.

    • Sixer says:

      I swear, Mr Sixer does all the supposedly girly things in this house. I HATED Downturd with an absolute passion. We’re currently in Poldark territory and he’s also making me watch some pap about a hotel being requisitioned for the wounded of both sides in your Civil War.

      Mind you, it’s better than the news at the moment, right?!

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Hubby is reading…GONE WITH THE FRIGGIN’ WIND. He finds the history interesting, is appalled by the sanitised depiction of slavery, and is totally caught up in the drama of Scarlett and Rhett.

      • Maria says:

        Mr. Sixer sounds like my kind of guy.

      • syd barrett says:

        Is he liking the new Poldark eps?

        I am just so thrilled that Ross is back to having nice hair.

      • deering24 says:

        Heh–the Civil War hospital show is MERCY STREET. 😉

      • ak says:

        I just watched Death Comes to Pemberley ( a sequel to Pride & Prejudice, but not by Austen). Superb – good story, stellar cast, great period detail.

    • Millie says:

      Sixer does your husband watch ‘Versailles’? It isn’t a British costume drama but it is a French/ Canadian joint venture and I think it is amazing. Tell him to watch it!

  9. wheneight says:

    I’m just not sure if the soap-opera, mellodrama that made the TV show kind of silly but great would translate to film. I feel like it always kind of straddled the line into campiness, but it made it a fun, guilty-pleasure watch because of that (and the costumes). But would that get lost on the big screen? I feel like this would either bomb or do so-so.

  10. Talie says:

    I’m excited…it would be a perfect Christmas movie.

  11. Amy Tennant says:

    I’ll take more Downton any way I can get it. I heard at one point there was talk of a prequel about Robert’s courtship of Cora. I’m excited about a movie, with only slight trepidation because the series ended PERFECTLY (hurrah for Edith)!

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      I agree! I love DA, and loved the way it ended. I love that the very last scene is the 2 women, Violet and Isabelle, sitting talking and Isabelle rolls her eyes. Perfection.

      Barrow as Butler! woohee! that will be fun, hopefully he will be slightly better than the last time he was Head Butler. I only hope they let Anna and Bates have their children without anymore jail 😛

      Rose comes back (Atticus is adorable), and Tom gets to marry Edith’s new editor! So many stories to follow up on.

    • Mamunia says:

      I can’t wait! I love every minute of DA, even when I watched it all the 2nd time. Julian Fellows books are quite good too. It would be great if Maggie Smith was able to be in it, but we shall have to see!

  12. PIa says:

    I think the only way Maggie Smith would agree is if they killed her character in the movie. She seems quite resentful of the show and it totally over it.

  13. minx says:

    IMO the show was never the same after Matthew died.

    • Erica_V says:

      Agreed!!! No matter who they put Mary with it wasn’t Matthew so it didn’t matter. I really hate that Dan left right when it was all getting so good.

    • Abby says:

      yes, and Sybil.

  14. PippiLongdivision says:

    Everything else I’ve read about this said the only thing actually confirmed is that a script is maybe starting to be worked on. All the cast members who were asked about it said things along the lines of “you’ve heard before I have/maybe someone should tell my agent.”

    As for the movie . . . eh. I liked Downton and watched it all, even after the timeline went wonky, but I’m not sure how well the small screen soap style would translate to movie format . . . I’d show up, but only for the downstairs crowd and the Isobel/Violet dynamic.

  15. NeoCleo says:

    No. Just no. I was very happy with the arc of the show and the seasons it played out.

  16. Ozogirl says:

    I loved the show, but it got soooo repetitive… Oh what legal trouble is Bates in this week? Or which man is Mary going to choose next week? Or who is going to be mean to Edith this time? They recycled storylines too much. Once Matthew got killed off (after a looooong wait for them to get together) it went downhill IMO But I won’t lie, I would see the movie. I just hope they won’t kill off Maggie in it!